Triumph and Tragedy | Chapter 14 of 56 - Part: 27 of 36

Author: Winston S. Churchill | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1572 Views | Add a Review

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Triumph and Tragedy


world was in confusion. The main bond of common danger which had united the Great Allies had vanished overnight.

The Soviet menace, to my eyes, had already replaced the Nazi foe. But no comradeship against it existed. At home the foundations of national unity, upon which the war-time Government had stood so firmly, were also gone. Our strength, which had overcome so many storms, would no longer continue in the sunshine. How then could we reach that final settlement which alone could reward the toils and sufferings of the struggle? I could not rid my mind of the fear that the victorious armies of democracy would soon disperse, and that the real and hardest test still lay before us. I had seen it all before. I remembered that other joy-day nearly thirty years before, when I had driven with my wife from the Ministry of Munitions through similar multitudes convulsed with enthusiasm to Downing Street to congratulate the Prime Minister. Then, as at this time, I understood the world situation as a whole. But then at least there was no mighty army that we need fear.

My prime thought was a meeting of the three great Powers and I hoped that President Truman would come through London on the way. As will be seen very different ideas were being pressed upon the new President from influential quarters in Washington. The sort of mood and outlook which had been noticed at Yalta had been strengthened.

The United States, it was argued, must be careful not to let herself be drawn into any antagonism with Soviet Russia.

This, it was thought, would stimulate British ambition and would make a new gulf in Europe. The right policy should, on the other hand, be for the United States to stand between Britain and Russia as a friendly mediator, or even arbiter, trying to reduce their differences about Poland or Triumph and Tragedy


Austria and make things settle down into a quiet and happy peace, enabling American forces to be concentrated against Japan. These pressures must have been very strong upon Truman. His natural instinct, as his historic actions have shown, may well have been different. I could not of course measure the forces at work in the brain centre of our closest Ally, though I was soon conscious of them. I could only feel the vast manifestation of Soviet and Russian imperialism rolling forward over helpless lands.

Obviously the first aim must be a conference with Stalin.

Within three days of the German surrender I cabled the President:




11 May 45

President Truman

I think we should offer an invitation jointly or severally at the same moment to Stalin to meet us at some agreed unshattered town in Germany for a Tripartite Meeting in July, We should not rendezvous at any place within the present Russian military zone.

Twice running we have come to meet him. They are concerned about us on account of our civilisation and various instrumentalities. But this will be greatly diminished when our armies are dispersed.

2. I do not know at the moment when our General Election will be, but I do not see any reason why it should influence your movements or mine where public duty calls. If you will entertain the idea of coming over here in the early days of July, His Majesty will send you the most cordial invitation and you will have a great reception from the British nation. I would have suggested the middle of June but for your reference to your Fiscal Year (June 30) because I feel that every minute counts. Thereafter we might move to the rendezvous fixed in Germany and have the grave discussions on which the immediate future of the world depends. I should of course bring with me representatives of both Parties in our State and both would use Triumph and Tragedy


exactly the same language about foreign affairs as we are closely agreed. Therefore I urge your coming here in the earliest days of July and that we leave together to meet U.J. at wherever is the best point outside Russian-occupied territory to which he can be induced to come. Meanwhile I earnestly hope that the American front will not recede from the now agreed tactical lines. 1

3. I doubt very much whether any enticements will get a proposal for a Tripartite Meeting out of Stalin. But I think he would respond to an invitation. If not, what are we to do?

4. I rejoice that your present intention is to adhere to our rightful interpretation of the Yalta Agreements and to stand firmly on our present announced attitude towards all the questions at issue. Mr. President, in these next two months the gravest matters in the world will be decided. May I add that I have derived a great feeling of confidence from the correspondence we have interchanged.

5. We are drawing up as you desire a list of subjects for discussion among us three which will take a few days but will be forwarded to you immediately.

He replied at once that he would rather have Stalin propose the meeting and he hoped our ambassadors would induce him to suggest it. Mr. Truman then declared that he and I ought to go to the meeting separately so as to avoid any suspicion of “ganging up.” When the Conference ended, he hoped to visit England if his duties in America permitted.

I did not fail to notice the difference of view which this telegram conveyed, but I accepted the procedure the President proposed.


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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